Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cougar unsettles B.C. neighbourhood

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NANAIMO, B.C. -- A Nanaimo woman was surprised Tuesday to find a cougar in her yard standing over a freshly killed deer.

It happened in a rural area just south of Nanaimo. At about 8:30 a.m., Mandy Weisbrod went outside to investigate the cry of a raven.

Up against the fence, probably less than 10 metres away, she saw a large cougar beside the carcass of a deer, with its upper thigh torn open. Seeing the big cat so close was both frightening and exciting. As frightened as she was, it's likely the large cat was just as frightened. It promptly left.

"That night I was certainly scared to go out to my trailer, but the conservation officer kind of put us at ease," Weisbrod said. "If it had stood there growling at me, that would have been more frightening. But she definitely did not want to be anywhere near me. I feel very honoured to have seen it."

The cougar is a hot topic in the neighbourhood this week. "I didn't want to go outside by myself really, but they say (cougars) don't come out during the day that much," said neighbour Shelley Tanner.

Another neighbour wonders about the risk of an attack on her two dogs.

Conservation officer Stuart Bates said in the rare case someone finds themselves facing a cougar in the wild, they should hold their ground and not move suddenly.

"Stare at it. Make yourself big. Talk in a big voice," Bates said.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2012 A27

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